Today’s post is inspired by Austin-based DJ Bobby Bones. He was discussing Matthew McConaughey’s weekend wedding and once again, expressed his ire regarding how “selfish” couples can be. And specifically in this instance the fact that the wedding festivities lasted for 3 days.
It isn’t the first time he’s complained about something like this. As a long-time listener I’ve heard many of his rants about “selfish” weddings. You see, he seems to think that destination and/or multi-day weddings are selfish of the newlyweds. His argument being that not everyone can take time off work or afford to travel for long weddings. And of course, he is right in that respect. But I would like to set the record straight.
Odds are, even a wedding in your hometown will be considered a destination wedding by some guests. Unless you have lived in one place your entire life and no one close to you has ever moved away, travel will be necessitated by someone. Often times long-distance guests may be invited, but it is always understood when they are unable to attend. Is it considered selfish of the bride to invite her grandmother that lives out-of-state?
But let’s just assume he is only referring to weddings in which all the guests have to travel – maybe Mexico or Hawaii (popular destination wedding locations). In those cases the newlyweds are asking every single invited guest to take time off work, fly to an exotic location, stay in a resort (let’s face it, destination weddings are never held at a Motel 6), pay for food, transportation, wedding attire…an invitation to a destination wedding can easily cost a guest a couple thousand dollars – per person.
But just because you are invited doesn’t mean you have to accept. Even if you have been asked to be in the wedding party. A wedding invitation isn’t a command.
Is it selfish to have a destination wedding? Maybe. But shouldn’t the wedding day be about the bride and groom anyway? They are paying thousands and thousands of dollars to throw a party…who says the guests get a say in where it takes place? Typically destination weddings will have a very small guest list – instead of complaining about how selfish the couple is, why not be glad they love you enough to include you in such a small group?
There is another side to this too: I had a friend that had a destination wedding because she knew certain people would not be able to afford to attend. People she could not avoid inviting if the wedding was held locally. Her solution was to choose a destination she knew the people she really wanted to attend could afford…ultimately keeping her unwanted guests at home. Of course very few people knew that was the reason for the destination – she may not have wanted them to attend, but she didn’t want feelings hurt either.
Back to Bobby Bones: destination weddings also require multiple days of festivities (like Matthew McConaughey’s wedding which presumably included multiple out-of-towners). And once again, just because you are invited to something doesn’t mean you have to attend. But if you have traveled for a wedding, why not make a vacation of it? I just don’t understand why it is a bad thing.
Basically I do think he is right…in a way. I think all weddings are selfish and I think they should be. Yes you should think of your guests comfort when making plans and be cognizant of financial limitations your guests may possess. But ultimately this is your wedding day and it should be everything you ever dreamed wherever you have always dreamed it (if at all possible). Just don’t expect everyone to be as enthusiastic about your plans as you are – or willing to shell out the time and money to attend.
And be prepared for backlash. This happened to me when I was planning my wedding 4 years ago. With half our guests in Dallas and half in Austin, we decided to ask everyone to travel to Galveston so we could have a cruise ship wedding. This helped us keep our guest count down enabling us to splurge on a few things (like the honeymoon). Unfortunately one of our wedding party felt Galveston was inconvenient and too expensive for her and she was very vocal in telling me all the reasons why we should just get married in Dallas. Every aspect of my wedding was a hassle for her. She later bowed out, frankly to my relief. It wasn’t because she couldn’t afford to be in the wedding but that she complained about it so much. And if you have read my blog before, you know we ended up changing the location to Austin just two months before the wedding thanks to Hurricane Ike.
You can’t please all your guests. If someone wants to complain about something – they are going to find something to complain about. So why not be selfish and plan your wedding for you and your groom? You are the two most important people on your wedding day anyway, right?